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Novinium News, September 2017: “The Safety Responsibility”

October 2, 2017

Novinium News September 2017The Safety Responsibility

Glen Bertini, CEO, Novinium

Novinium News

September 2017


On this page in October 2015 (“I am Responsible for Safety”) I explained that I was responsible for the safety of all Novinium employees. I announced that to allow me to be closer to the front-line field employees 50% we eliminated a layer of operational management. Since then we have made substantial progress. Over 60% of all Novinium employees voluntarily engage in NoBServations. We saw on this page in February 2017 a convincing correlation between NoBS participation and safe operations. I reproduced that graph below.

The Safety Responsiblity

In July of 2016, this page introduced our employee- led safety initiative. The Novinium Safety Council (NSC) sets safety policy for Novinium. While management helps to carry out the will of the NSC, the policy is 100% controlled by six gentlemen. The current members of the NSC include Tom Pittman, Ed Wyland, Joe West, Robert Wright, Tim Kincaid, and Todd Marzolf. Novinium employees can learn more about the NSC by following the NSC group in Chatter.

I strongly disagreed with the very first decision made by the NSC on July 12, 2016. The NSC decided the outcome; the CEO’s view was ignored. I helped to implement the will of the NSC. Even though I disagreed with the NSC decision and I continue to disagree, I will ensure the NSC’s collective will is carried out. If you are interested in the details of the July 12, 2016 disagreement, see the “Four-foot Hot Stick” inset nearby.

I am happy to report that since that first vote, the NSC has made dozens of policy choices, and except for some inconsequential quibbles, I have found myself agreeing with the NSC collective wisdom 100% of the time.


Four-foot Hot Stick

Should Novinium allow the use of four-foot hot sticks? We produced a video titled “Tance is Your Friend” that explains why two “Tances” are so important, namely resistance and distance. The presentation was delivered live to the NSC and recorded for posterity. You can watch the video at …

The need for a short, four-foot hot stick, compared to our normal six-foot hot stick, occurs on less than 1% of all the circuits we encounter. Novinium would happily walk away from those rare cases where a longer hot stick was unworkable. The NSC voted unanimously to allow four-foot hot sticks with extra PPE (personal protective equipment).


Modified from the July 2016 Novinium News, the drawing below shows how the NSC takes employee inputs, NoBS inputs, and experiences from peer firms to establish policy. The office of the CEO, together with Engineering and Training, provide policy implementation support while the various headquarters functional groups put the policy prescriptions of the NSC into practice. This month my role was augmented by the addition of Ken Gulezian as the Novinium Safety Director. I remain the single individual who is responsible for the safety of each Novinium employee. Ken will be my eyes, my ears, and my hands in all thi-

ngs safety. For the next couple of months Ken will be learning the details of Novinium operations. In Ken’s image below he is learning what our teams do. Ken is not an OSHA “qualified worker.” When Ken nears the end of his rapid learning plan this fall, he will begin to contribute to the improvement of Novinium’s culture. It is ultimately the responsibility of each Novinium employee to ensure his or her own safety. Each supervisor has the additional responsibility for the safety of those they supervise. That “Responsibility Hierarchy” ends with me. Ken is not in that chain of responsibility. Supervisors should not think that Ken relieves them of any safety responsibility. Operations bears that privilege. We look forward to Ken helping us to improve our mastery of all things safety.


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